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#211 - Ruspanic (04/08/2015) [-]
With the exception of some utterly backward parts of Africa like Uganda and the DRC, modern Christianity is much better than modern Islam in human rights, tolerance for other beliefs, gender equality, tolerance of homosexuality, compatibility with personal freedom, and basically every other "liberal" value.
There's no question about it, if you make an honest comparison. Dawkins is completely right here.
Take a look at the 50 or so Muslim countries in the world.
How many have any respect for gay rights?
How many believe in gender equality, and grant men and women equal legal rights and protections in things like rape and divorce?
How many have secular governments and respect religious minorities?
How many freely allow atheism, blasphemy against Islam, and apostasy?
Those are all just legal things. Take a look at the citizens of those countries and what they actually believe, according to poll data: www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-overview/
Fucking 99% of Afghanis support Sharia Law, after suffering Taliban rule and violence for years. For fuck's sake, the Taliban's Sharia banned music, cut off hands, and turned women into drape-covered household appliances. And yet that 99% includes women.
A majority of Muslims in all broadly-defined geographic regions believe atheists cannot be moral. That's true in all Muslim countries except Kazakhstan and Albania.
Huge majorities (73-99%) of Muslims in almost every surveyed Muslim country believe homosexuality is immoral.
Majorities everywhere except European Muslim countries believe that women must obey their husbands. Majorities (75% in the Middle East) or significant minorities believe girls and boys should have different inheritance rights. Huge numbers support stoning to death adulterers.
These people are not radicals. They are not evil. They do not (for the most part) support terrorism. They are perfectly mainstream Muslims and in some cases represent huge majorities of Muslims. And their beliefs are unacceptable to any honest liberal.
Seriously. There's no reason besides political correctness to assume that Christianity and Islam are equally bad or equally good, and it would be a remarkable coincidence if they were. Just as some ideologies are obviously more conducive to violence and intolerance and fanaticism than others, the same is true of religions (and cultures, for that matter).
#298 - tlstheseen (04/08/2015) [-]
While you make a good claim and you have some good evidence there, there is a hole in your argument. That hole is the one which marks modern western countries as "Christian" just because our constitution has a few "under god"s thrown in there. Quite frankly, when the major western countries were officially "Christian" countries they were doing all the same things many modern Sharia law nations are. It's like a "teething" phase for religions. Most nations which have respect for relative gender and racial equality have secular governments.
#302 - tlstheseen (04/08/2015) [-]
These are "Christian Nations"
Christianity, in one form or another, is the state religion of the following 13 nations: Argentina (Roman Catholic Church), Tuvalu (Church of Tuvalu), Costa Rica (Roman Catholic Church), Kingdom of Denmark (Danish National Church), England (Church of England), Greece (Eastern Orthodoxy), Georgia (Georgian Orthodox Church), Iceland (Church of Iceland), Liechtenstein (Roman Catholic Church), Malta (Roman Catholic Church), Monaco (Roman Catholic Church), Norway (Church of Norway), Vatican City (Roman Catholic Church).
However, the majority of them are actually non secular, which means that religion is not enforced, which thus indicates you can no longer compare "Christian Nations" to "Muslim Nations" because of the simple fact that the two are in different religious stages of development and critique
#303 - Ruspanic (04/08/2015) [-]
The definitions I gave you are the ones I used in my post. It makes no difference to my point whether these countries have officially established Islam or Christianity as a state religion - though the proportion of Christian vs Islamic states that have done so may say something about each of those religions. Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, does not formally establish Islam as a state religion, but that doesn't make it not a Muslim country. It is still 88% Muslim. Similarly, the 75% or so of Americans who are Christian make America a Christian nation for my purposes, even though Christianity is not enshrined in our legal code.
For that matter, a religion does not have be enforced by law in order to be "enforced" in a meaningful way. The force of tradition and mass culture is quite powerful as well in compelling people to behave a certain way or in restricting personal freedom. A religion has its own "laws" which are enforced by societal pressure (e.g. women wearing veils and headscarves) and sometimes even by mob violence (e.g. alleged adulterers and blasphemers might be lynched).
The idea that we cannot compare religions that are in "different religious stages of development" is absurd. Of course we can compare them. We can survey people (as Pew Research has done) to determine their opinions on various issues, and we can with reasonable certainty pick out which opinions are religiously inspired, especially if we asked our interviewees why they believe what they believe. And the we can clearly pick out differences between Christianity and Islam in their current states.
#215 - theism (04/08/2015) [-]
You'll find that those qualities correlate heavily with wealth, education and geography. Muslim countries with those issues are poor and located in politically unstable regions, just like Christian countries with similar conditions face similar problems. If you could conduct similar studies on Christian nations when Europe was in a comparable political state to the Middle East you would see similar results.
It's entirely due to politics and geography, not religion.
#221 - Ruspanic (04/08/2015) [-]
I don't deny that there's a correlation, or that a large factor in the disparity is the happy coincidence that the Christian world came to be technologically and economically dominant.
But I don't get why it's hard to accept that religion will impact people's social and political views. How can you honestly say this is all entirely due to politics and geography, and completely take religion out of the equation?
Politics, culture and religion are all influenced by each other. This is especially true in the Islamic world, where there is no tradition of separating "church and state" - which isn't surprising, because unlike Jesus, Mohammad was literally a political and military leader who conquered territory and killed people in war. When the Arab Spring happened and secular dictators were overthrown, the Arab world rushed to elect Islamist parties to power. That is unsurprising, given mainstream Islamic beliefs in that part of the world.
"The Muslim World" stretches halfway around the world from Senegal to Indonesia, incorporating countries that are quite diverse in culture, racial makeup and history that for some reason all share the aforementioned characteristics.
It doesn't matter to me what the Qu'ran says or how Christianity used to be or any of that, what matters to me in judging a religion is how it is practiced on balance today, in the 21st century. And the fact remains that stoning rape victims and executing apostates are abhorrent practices that are justified by Islam - not by poverty or geography or politics.
#294 - theism (04/08/2015) [-]
Yes religious is a contributing factor just like the views of many Christians were a contributing to what put Europe in the dark ages. The real cause of the dark ages and the current turmoil in the Middle East is the collapse of a powerful empire and the power vacuum left behind (Rome in Europe the Ottomans in the Middle East) you'll find that Muslim countries like Turkey (despite it's political issues) and the UAE lack the issues of sectarian violence and terrorism that others have. Why is this when both are predominantly Muslim? Economics and politics. They have the money and local stability that mitigates these issues. Why are Christian countries in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe unstable? Politics and local culture.
Yes Muhammed was a military leader. So was King David, would you describe the jews as a militant people? so was every Holy Roman Emperor. The papacy employed large military forces at a time when Europe was in a comparable state to the current Middle East. What about the catholics?
You can believe what you want but your religion isn't culturally or morally superior.
#308 - Ruspanic (04/08/2015) [-]
Just to clarify, Christianity isn't "my religion". I am not a Christian.
I don't deny that Christianity was super fucked up during the Dark Ages and motivated a great deal of atrocious behavior. But there's no denying that it's changed a great deal. Yes, the Enlightenment happened and technological revolutions happened and the whole Western world became more liberal, but Christianity adapted to that. While a smaller proportion of Westerners are Christian than before, today's Christianity is not "less Christian" than 12th Century Christianity - it's simply different. It makes little sense to judge modern Christianity by the actions of Christians hundreds of years ago, and you'll notice I didn't mention the Muslim conquests or any historical Muslim violence in my critique of Islam. That's because I'm not judging these religions as historical phenomena, I'm judging them as modern-day ideologies that influence what people today actually believe and do. I do realize there's variety among Muslim believers, but these generalizations are still useful and significant.
My point about Mohammad being a military leader was simply intended to explain in part why so many Muslims are not sympathetic to the idea of secular government. King David, for that matter, was not a prophet in Judaism though he is a prophet in Islam and is nowhere near as central to Judaism as Jesus and Mohammad are to Christianity and Islam, respectively.
But that's neither here nor there.
As you noted, the poor, unstable Christian countries of South America and Eastern Europe are unstable for reasons other than religion. Violent Christian extremism is a non-issue. (Central Africa is a different story, as there are actually Christian militant groups like the LRA that employ child soldiers and such and contribute greatly to the tribal warfare that goes on there).
But in a majority of unstable Muslim countries, Islamism and religious extremism play a very significant role in the instability, as well as in the human rights abuses that are justified by religion. In Pakistan, a moderate politician was assassinated for opposing Pakistan's blasphemy law, under which a Christian women had recently been put to death. People cheered in the streets and lauded his assassin as a hero. In the same country, a large chunk of territory is controlled by the Pakistani Taliban, an Islamist extremist group that attacks schoolgirls for going to school. The same is true in Nigeria with Boko Haram. In Yemen, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups plague the country. In the Gaza Strip, Hamas has turned the secular struggle against Israeli domination into a matter of religious duty, against which the lives of children and innocents on both sides are of no importance. Somalia is a failed state because of the power of its warlords and of al-Shabab, to the extent that the Somali government cannot even operate inside Somalia's borders. Indonesia and Malaysia are both dealing with Islamic insurgencies like Jemaah Islamiyah. I don't think I need to tell you about the impact ISIS has had on Syria and Iraq. The Muslim countries that are not unstable are often ruled by powerful dictators, with a few exceptions.